Broome County is distributing a type of facial covering to protect against the spread of the coronavirus that had been reserved only for essential workers at the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Thursday, officials announced the county had received tens of thousands of KN90 masks from New York State.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Emergency Services Director Patrick Dewing says residents will be able to go to a number of locations to get a free mask.

The 87,000 KN90 respirators are available at the downtown Binghamton Central Transportation Hub, the Department of Social Services, the Broome-Tioga Career and Community Center at the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, The Visions Veterans’ Memorial Arena, the Broome County Forum Theater, all 9 libraries in the area, the Broome County Senior Centers and shelters like the Salvation Army and YWCA.  Residents can also check with the United Way of Broome County and the Broome County Council of Churches for other locations.

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The KN90 masks are considered a better-fitting face covering an offer better filtration that cloth masks or the fiber surgical masks that have become standard equipment through the pandemic.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Kathy Hochul is extending the requirement that masks be worn in all businesses. The mask-or-vax mandate is being extended for two weeks through February 1.

That mandate requires all businesses in New York State, no matter the size, to have all staff and clients wear masks or show proof of vaccination.

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